Thread Number: 63054  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
"Industrial Archaeology®" or How to tame wild Speed Queens
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Post# 856307   12/12/2015 at 15:50 (1,018 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        

jetcone's profile picture

Well today was a corner turner for the 1960 Speed Queen- yes I found a 1960 stamp on the transmission, and this tranny also has a  stamp that says "Arc-cuate" !!! 


First was a new technique for restoring not so bad rubber hoses. I have found the red high temp silicone rubber to be a life saver here. It sticks to rubber really well. When a hose is just cracking you can do this trick and get more life out of it. Heck the Easy has been going 2 years now with this and the '57 SQ has been running a year like this. It sure beats hunting for new "bendy" hoses - believe me !



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This post was last edited 12/12/2015 at 16:09

Post# 856310 , Reply# 1   12/12/2015 at 15:59 (1,018 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Next the

jetcone's profile picture

necessary but incredibly messy tranny overhaul. First one has too clean the outside. We don't want any of that grit getting into the tranny itself !

This machine had sat in a factory where they had worked on the V2 rocket, satellites -gawd knows what else for the NSA so it had very strange dusts all around. 

These were removed scientifically.


These machines were loved its obvious but getting inside what is not so obvious is how past the due date the lubricants were!! 

To my surprise this tranny was the worst I've seen.  When cleaning I thought some of the components in cast iron had come from bad moldings! There was these huge hunks of what looked like metal all around the castings. It was hard-solid too.

But after 30 mins in the kerosene a hunk just fell off , then I discovered it was carbonized lube!! It was all around the journal bearings just where the heat is generated. It had blocked the oil port holes too which made the journal bearings run even hotter.

I would suppose it would soon turn to carbon if I hadn't gone in to clean. And then the next step would be diamond!! Which Fred says would be worth more than I paid for them LOL !


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Post# 856311 , Reply# 2   12/12/2015 at 16:04 (1,018 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
next the yucky

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The part when one gets down and dirty. Where you wear the worst clothes, work outdoors and have to hand scrub and scrub and scrub in kerosene. What a mess !


You can see in the first photo two of the tranny bolts were loose! The tranny had been leaking for years out one end.   The original oil looked clear , look at the threads on the bolts, you can see through the oil down to the threads.

Not so when you get inside !! Not by a long shot. Here is where all the work was done, and as I have said before these are NOT sealed systems. Unlike the GE tranny where oil can look new after 60 years !! These trannys are exposed to atmosphere so the oil is churned with air for 60 years. That produces SLUDGE !! Pure and simple! So it all has to come off otherwise it will contaminate the new oil and break it down. 


That sludge doesn't even pour off, I had to use a putty knife to get it off the components. 

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Post# 856312 , Reply# 3   12/12/2015 at 16:07 (1,018 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
3 hours of subbing and cleaning sludge

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And we are left with >>>>>>> TA DA..>>>>>>>>>

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Post# 856313 , Reply# 4   12/12/2015 at 16:08 (1,018 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Stay tuned to this channel

jetcone's profile picture

for more "Industrial Archaeology®" coming up.

Post# 856315 , Reply# 5   12/12/2015 at 16:22 (1,018 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        
Good Lord !!!

toploader55's profile picture

You'd think a V-2 Rocket engineer would have looked after those machines better.


Lord knows what her Mink would have looked like if she didn't get these Queens.


I hope you had your complete Haz Mat Suit on with the Respirator !!!

Post# 856317 , Reply# 6   12/12/2015 at 16:28 (1,018 days old) by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        

blackstone's profile picture
Where do you get that red rubber stuff, and what is it called?

By coincidence, speaking of 1960, I posted a picture of a 1960 calendar. In the Super Forum.

I sure don't envy that cleaning job, but you gots to do what you gots to do.

Post# 856323 , Reply# 7   12/12/2015 at 17:25 (1,018 days old) by mayfan69 (Brisbane Queensland Australia)        
Great work

mayfan69's profile picture
Great work Jon.

That's a lot of work you've done.


Post# 856324 , Reply# 8   12/12/2015 at 17:47 (1,018 days old) by A440 ()        

Wow!  I can't get over that oil!  Are you going to recycle it?

This is going to be one beautiful set!  Such great history!

Thanks for the pictures so far!


Post# 856329 , Reply# 9   12/12/2015 at 18:12 (1,018 days old) by washman (Butler, PA)        
long live

washman's profile picture
the arc-cuate 210!

Post# 856330 , Reply# 10   12/12/2015 at 18:14 (1,018 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Post# 856343 , Reply# 11   12/12/2015 at 20:11 (1,018 days old) by LaVidaBoem ()        
Looks great>>

Very nice JetCone,


I am aware of similar type sludge as you mention...

Didn't know if you were aware of what we use "here" in the tranny biz to clean parts/cases.


Very close to your mentioned Kerosene, but we use Varsol.

It is a trademarked version of Mineral Spirits/Stoddard Solvent.

(On the fracking tower, its above Kerosene)


Exxon made a fine grade of mineral spirits, and patented it.

They removed the sulfur, and did one other thing that wasn't published, have never really known for sure...but its great stuff.


My mentor for tranny's was a retired Ford  guy.

He told me that it would be hard for me to find varsol, as it was getting hard for him; it was a used as a dry cleaning fluid for years...something like since the 20's.


I have been lucky, we have one oil distributor that still carries it.

We buy it by the 55 gallon drum; when I started in '80, it was a $1.50 a gallon, now over $8...


Ford used a unique automatic transmission fluid badged as "Type F" in tranny's from early (>?) on to the mid/later 70's.

Anyway, clutch material in those Ford's are unique, and require only that fluid; but, when it burns the fluid, it would stain the case that nut brown/sludge color you have shown here.


We use a large, heavy metal hooded dishwasher to wash aluminum, or cast iron, cases.

When a really bad Ford of that vintage comes in, the aluminum case will be stained so bad, that the normal dishwasher will not make a dent as far as removal...(water based with a detergent about 10 times the strength of regular powder Cascade).


The Varsol used for even Hand/Manual cleaning of a tranny case wouldn't do it easy; but normal soak type carb cleaner is the bomb.


One of the features of Varsol was the no staining of white cotton.

My mentor reminded me that if I wanted to know for sure that a company sold Varsol, take a white man's handkerchief, dip in the suspect mineral spirits...hang to dry.

When dry, the kerosene/mineral spirits would always be yellow tinged; the varsol would be white.


And the Point?? only that here in the tranny work, kerosene left a film on valves in some valvebodies that would stick a rhyme or reason, could be stuck cold, or when hot.

Shops that didn't use varsol would usually not a touch a Ford of that era.


Anyway, useless stuff, but seeing that case and parts, made me think how hard you worked to get that stuff off!!

Good luck, and keep the pics coming.



I assume he is speaking of RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) Red silione sealer.

Any of your parts stores for auto's has it...and many others...probably wally world by now.


Hope this Helps,



Post# 856346 , Reply# 12   12/12/2015 at 20:17 (1,018 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

gansky1's profile picture
Outdoors is right. Yuck. Gratifying work though, look how nice that is now.

Post# 856360 , Reply# 13   12/12/2015 at 21:13 (1,018 days old) by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        

blackstone's profile picture
Googled it and found it. Thanks.

Post# 856361 , Reply# 14   12/12/2015 at 21:17 (1,018 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Well LaVida

jetcone's profile picture

my dad taught me to use kerosene for this kind of thing because it has a large molecule that is not absorbed by the skin so its a little safer. I wonder since your Varsol is up the ladder if it is lighter?


As far as film is concerned its not a problem for these slow transmissions.


But sticking valves, I wonder if the kerosene had dissolved some other part of the transmission to make the valves stick like that?


I am missing one thrust washer, must have gone down the drain! 


Fred you'll like that stuff, most Auto Zone's carry it





Post# 856366 , Reply# 15   12/12/2015 at 21:47 (1,018 days old) by LaVidaBoem ()        
Lighter and Tastier...



Yes, its lighter...and you are right about the skin thing, although, as mentioned, my Mentor was in that stuff all his life...His hands looked like a teenager.


He told me to wash often and use Vaseline Intensive care, and only a hand-cleaner with Lanolin.


To this day, when someone meets me, the first thing they usually comment on is my hands.

They don't believe I am a mechanic; never thought that much about it...but they haven't aged like the tops of my who knows?


I was going to put a link in for people; went to wiki, and they don't even have it correct...talked about "White Spirits", so I didn't put the link.


Its also funny, your Dad was ahead of his generation seems; most men of that era liked pure old GASOLINE to clean with...Wow!


Thanks for the comments,





Post Script:

To answer your question about the was Ford's machining of the valves/valve body.

Their tolerances were that of the AeroSpace Industry.

Even a small fiber from a red shop towel was enough to lock a valve in a valvebody.

Post# 856385 , Reply# 16   12/13/2015 at 00:51 (1,018 days old) by washer111 ()        

Wow John, you really had your work cut out for you with this!

However, I can see why "Dentist's Recommend Oral-B," its clearly highly specialized in the area of SpaceAgeDust-Removal :P

Another point is this demonstrates the absurdity of "lifetime" fills of oil for automobiles (*cough* BMW *cough*), as well as washers and other appliances where air is allowed into the system through filling ports or vent holes.

You've put a lot of effort in here, and I expect the resulting product will run far cooler, (as a result of less friction and thus wear) and far more smoothly for far longer than if you hadn't done this restoration.

Another thing: You needn't worry about dirty work clothes - Your Arcuate-210° SpeedQueen will be MORE than capable of shifting the dirt. I'm sure Ben, (Patronus-absolutus) can kindly provide some literature to support a claim to this effect :)

Post# 856452 , Reply# 17   12/13/2015 at 14:00 (1,017 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
I don't mind saying

jetcone's profile picture
What a bastard !
I decided to remove the spin tube which looked like 3 easy
Bolts ! Boy was I wrong ! Way harder than yesterday's job!
Then I found a motor bolt had been over tightened
It has split the lock washer !!

So now the spin tube is out I'm gonna try putting
On the commercial spin pulley and ramp up the
Speed to 730!!

Anybody know what the new spin belt size should be?
I don't have any commercial doctrine on these machines.

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Post# 856455 , Reply# 18   12/13/2015 at 14:07 (1,017 days old) by LaVidaBoem ()        
Yes Sir, Mr. Jet Cone>>

There were only two...

28 1/4

30 1/4


Let's hope the longer one is it. Both 1/2" width.



Post# 856525 , Reply# 19   12/14/2015 at 07:37 (1,017 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Actually the domestic models

jetcone's profile picture

took a 28" & 36 " belt. So the commercial belt must be smaller than 28".



Post# 856539 , Reply# 20   12/14/2015 at 08:49 (1,016 days old) by LaVidaBoem ()        
Well, I tried...

I only have a few reference books for those...


Let us know what it turns out to be, need to add that to the old 'noggin file system...


Post# 856540 , Reply# 21   12/14/2015 at 09:11 (1,016 days old) by beekeyknee (Columbia, MO)        

beekeyknee's profile picture

It's funny you should mention Varisol. Several years ago I restored my Grandmothers Singer 401 Slant-O-Matic sewing machine and the service manual recommended using Varisol to clean the machine with before beginning a complete tune-up. I started looking for Varisol and soon realized I was searching for a rare substance. I suppose this is only to be acquired at a specific location and for a substantial price?



Post# 856542 , Reply# 22   12/14/2015 at 09:21 (1,016 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
after talking to Bob Salem

jetcone's profile picture

who is a wealth of information on Speed Queen he tells me the commercial belt should be a 24"-25" belt, that the exact size is not crucial because of the motor adjustment ability and that SQ belts should never never be tight, loose is the way. 


So using the handy dandy "belt-0-matic" I was able to confirm what he told me today.

Domestic machine, large pulley =6" small = 1 1/4"  distance = 7 1/2" and small pulley speed is 1725.

Large pulley (spin) is 630.


Commercial machine : spin pulley is 4 1/2" spin speed is 725 so a belt between 24-25 " is whats called for. 





Post# 856543 , Reply# 23   12/14/2015 at 09:27 (1,016 days old) by LaVidaBoem ()        
Yes, nearly impossible...

It seems that way now...the greenies have made just about anything petrol based difficult to find...


I had a buddy tell me that in Cali-Land, you cannot hardly buy even normal paint like thinners/strippers without an Act Of Congress.


That is one slick sewing machine restoration...

I had inherited one of my grandmothers machines...almost forgot the number...A 640 or 642 Singer with the drop in discs for embroidery and zig-zag...

I had just finished the work on it circa 2008, and lost my home to melted that singer into a pile of molten pot metal.

I was sick...

Anyway, thanks for the post, and keep me in mind if you have a singer that you want to get rid of...SC has a nice environment for keeping the machines out of the Cold, wet, nasty winters some of you boys




Post# 856546 , Reply# 24   12/14/2015 at 09:39 (1,016 days old) by LaVidaBoem ()        

When you get the belt, would you mind posting the brand, and part # for reference??


"Here" I have a Napa buddy, and I stock many belts for farm/auto/industrial machines.


I like to be able to cross any other vendor over to the Napa # so I can always give someone the actual part # to ask for.


I am sure you all have ran into situations where a vendor would reply..."We don't have, or can't get, OR They don't make that..."


With a direct #, it makes the task easy.


Thanks Again,


Post# 856548 , Reply# 25   12/14/2015 at 09:52 (1,016 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
I learned too that the belts have to be a bit loose for it to operate properly....

I also use Brake Parts Cleaner for many cleanup jobs, and for items you wouldn't think of getting will dissolve grease and grime quickly, wash it away, and dry within seconds...

fantastic work I wish I could be there to watch all of this in person....

Post# 856757 , Reply# 26   12/15/2015 at 16:47 (1,015 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Here is the filling of the 210° Arc-cuate Tranny

jetcone's profile picture

Nice clean tranny screaming  for oil !! 




Post# 856758 , Reply# 27   12/15/2015 at 16:50 (1,015 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Last two days the job

jetcone's profile picture

has been to address the spin tube bearings. Although they sounded great , when I discovered the amount of use the machine has seen I had my doubts as to the lubrication in them.


When I got the spin trunnion  out all by itself I found the turning of the spin tube to be stiff. So in we go>>>>


Sure enough, the lubricant has dried out and cracked around the supply area, see #3. You can see where the lubricant has separated from the bearing race and is no longer supplying lubricant to the bearing.


That means its time to go!



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Post# 856759 , Reply# 28   12/15/2015 at 16:51 (1,015 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
When I whacked the

jetcone's profile picture

spin tube out I found to my surprise heat stress on the upper tube section where it is with the bearing, that means the bearing has been running hot !



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Post# 856760 , Reply# 29   12/15/2015 at 16:53 (1,015 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
The water seal

jetcone's profile picture

 is in great shape though. So there wasn't that much heat stress, I think we got it just in time because the spin shaft quite easily tapped out of the bearings , always a good sign!!


and there was no sign of any water entering  which is huge !



Post# 856765 , Reply# 30   12/15/2015 at 17:12 (1,015 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

toploader55's profile picture


Well, as we use to say at The Cranberry Moose Restaurant... "Do it right the first time and there is no looking back."

Post# 856778 , Reply# 31   12/15/2015 at 18:51 (1,015 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        

jetcone's profile picture

I like that !!


Post# 857034 , Reply# 32   12/17/2015 at 06:47 (1,014 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Rebuilding An Early SQ Washer

combo52's profile picture

Great job Jon, I have only ever torn one SQ this far apart.


Your final spin speed will be close to 800 RPMs with the 4 1/2" spin pulley.


That "heat stress " on the spin tube is from when they made the spin tube , the spin tube could never get that hot in operation or there would be no grease in the bearings at all and the seal assembly would have burned to ash, LOL.


Can't wait to see and hear this machine in operation next time I am up there.

Post# 857043 , Reply# 33   12/17/2015 at 07:40 (1,014 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Thats what I was thinking John! That heat stress looked deep

jetcone's profile picture

deep to me for any lubricant to be left in there.



Yes when I talked to Bob, he said that Jeff had shot his machine with the 'scope and Bob said he hit 745 RPM!


Can't wait to see that! Thanks for throwing in that pulley! Bob also had a belt for me. So this baby should be up and ready to go soon!


Post# 857049 , Reply# 34   12/17/2015 at 08:28 (1,013 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
As usual...

mrb627's profile picture
an amazing restoration. Thanks for posting so we can follow along and enjoy it.


P.S. - When are you going to start taking orders for rebuilding dream machines?

Post# 857059 , Reply# 35   12/17/2015 at 09:41 (1,013 days old) by Stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

stricklybojack's profile picture
A rebuild/restore thread, thumbs up and thank you!

It has been my thought, born of experience, that when a mechanical device "realizes" it's being worked on all manner of stuff lines up and breaks while the breakin' is good.

Given your extensive experience I wonder how you have learned to cope with this fundamental law of

Post# 857102 , Reply# 36   12/17/2015 at 13:47 (1,013 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Well Robert what I've noticed more so is this

jetcone's profile picture

I find two kinds of machines. One that really doesn't want to come back, that is the beast to restore. The other is one the does want to come back. On those all the nuts just pop apart no forcing, all seals are good or come off easy to replace. Those are the joy to work on by a wide margin. The Philco Hula-Matic was dying to come back, in fact I've never worked on an easier machine , I was amazed at how well the mechanics stood up because that machine was once in a home and then it appeared to me be have been a garage machine due to the type of grease build up in the tub and Hula-tator. 


I only force the ones that don't want to come back if they are rare examples of something.


The one that beat me was the Launderall, it didn't want to come back, once I got it actually running dry it caught fire and had to be hauled out of the basement, smoking' and choking' the house up.

I have one very recalcitrant machine in my stable, its the Lady Kenmore Combination that John & I have been trying to save for 30 years !! I get her up and running and something else breaks, so she's up on the docket for the winter , right after this speed queen. It's now do or die time for her! 


Post# 857124 , Reply# 37   12/17/2015 at 14:57 (1,013 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

turquoisedude's profile picture

Jon, that was quite the challenge to get everything turning again so smoothly and you did an outstanding job.  I only saw the finished product for the transmission, but it turned like it was brand new!  Can't wait to see the machine put back together again. 

Post# 857419 , Reply# 38   12/19/2015 at 15:37 (1,011 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Okay Dr. Frigidaire makes Speed Queen progress today

jetcone's profile picture

Remember "Clean bearings are happy bearings" 



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Post# 857420 , Reply# 39   12/19/2015 at 15:39 (1,011 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Next they get my special secret lubrication

jetcone's profile picture

plus they get packed with puréed cherries  for long high temp life!



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Post# 857421 , Reply# 40   12/19/2015 at 15:41 (1,011 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Now the base gets a thorough cleaning

jetcone's profile picture

Since we've taken it down this far -- why not !



Yes, it was cleaned with kerosene.



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Post# 857424 , Reply# 41   12/19/2015 at 15:43 (1,011 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Finally for today

jetcone's profile picture

If you want easy servicing later on always ream out things. It makes it so much easier, so I grabbed my 3/8 16 reamer !




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Post# 857425 , Reply# 42   12/19/2015 at 15:50 (1,011 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Thank you everyone for tuning in!

jetcone's profile picture

I think there will be a small break over the holidays, as Santa's Elves are now busy busy.



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Post# 857601 , Reply# 43   12/20/2015 at 19:11 (1,010 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
well that machine

jetcone's profile picture

was boring  a hole in my mind today, I had to go down and tinker.


I ended up:

1) putting the center plate and spin tube back together

2) reattaching the 3 centering springs

3) cleaning and  reattaching the 3 dampers

4) reassembling the whole spin tube

5) cleaning and lubing the 4 adjustable legs.



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Post# 861060 , Reply# 44   1/10/2016 at 15:12 (989 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Today's Job

jetcone's profile picture

Rebuild the motor/fluid drive.


Bob Salem and I were debating over New Years , we noticed how when you open the fluid drive from its hermetic seal that you ALWAYS need to top up the fluid drive oil ! Sometimes the plug is so tight you have to block the F/D in aVise, and use a LONG handled wrench just to get it open.


Where does the fluid go? Does it go?
Well today I measured! 


The first picture shows just how much I got out of the FD = 6.0 ozs.


And we now know how much the original charge should be. Thanks to ebay I found a bottle of old used FD/FLUID with the quantity.  Most SQ doctrine does not tell you how much the charge should be. It should be 7 1/2 ozs. !


You'll see it was down 1 1/2 ozs. ! Not a speck on the outside, the F/D was bone dry. It must burn up inside and turn to carbon because the oil is cloudy. That's my guess. 


I topped it off with Zoom spout oil, its very close in viscosity, it's a tad thicker but then the oil in the FD is 60 years old and it would have broken down some so Zoom spout is a good match.



Next motor contacts cleaned, motor bearings lubed - they needed it! F/D bearing lubed for smooth sliding operation. Solenoid cleaned of external grease, it snaps real nice & smooth now. No chattering.

Now the whole shebang is ready to put back together.



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Post# 861110 , Reply# 45   1/10/2016 at 19:49 (989 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Great Job!

bajaespuma's profile picture

I'm marvelling at both your focus and stick-to-it-iveness. My ADD is really not an asset to this hobby.

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